Max Number of C-Sections?

[name]Hi[/name] all. I am on my second pregnancy, my first was a c-section and because the births will be only 15months apart my OB says I will have to have another c-section. They say you can only VBAC if there is 18months or more between the births. This is upsetting to me because we would like a large family. So I was wondering how many c-sections you have had or how many women you know have had? Also have you(or anyone you know) encountered problems with pregnancies after more than 2 or 3 sections? Thanks!

I’m not a mother yet, but my mom had threw c-sections. Doctors recommended her not to have more because it’s dangerous to have more c-section due to adhesion. I know a woman who had three c-sections and gave natural birth to her fourth child. Good luck!

I’m not sure where your located, but think the maximum allowed here in [name]Ireland[/name] is three. There are a few more issues with two close c-sections, such as the chance of the scar rupturing during pregnancy and/or birth, and increased risk of infection to the new scar. The new scar will also take longer to heal. It’d be advisable not to get pregnant for at least 2yrs after this baby to ensure you won’t have scar issues with a hypothetical third pregnancy.
Congratulations on your pregnancy, wishing you a happy and healthy 9mos :smiley:

I had heard three as well, but I was also told not to vbac unless more than three years apart? The doctors in my town will not do vbac at all, so I had two c/s even though my kids are pretty much exactly three years apart.

I have no personal experience and have not done any research, but thought I would throw this in for discussion.

Michelle Dugger has 19 children (17 deliveries)
Her 2nd delivery (twins) was a C/S
There is an average of 18 mos between her deliveries. (Not her pregnancies)
Her 13th, 16th and 17th deliveries were C/S
So number 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9(twins), 10, 11, 12, 14 & 15 were VBAC

It does help to wait at least 18 months between pregnancies (C-section or no C-section, your body needs the rest)…however I know a woman who has had 6 C-sections (2 of which were only 12 months apart). On her 5th section, they cautioned her to wait because her uterus was very scarred from the repeat sections and the lining/walls were very thin. They got pregnant again so soon though (unplanned, but very much wanted), and she was FINE…in fact, the same health care provider who said her uterine wall was “paper thin” said it was very healthy and strong to support preganancy both during the pregnancy and during the C-section.

I also know women who have had 6 VBACs… including several home-vbacs.

My advice is that if your provider is telling you “no” or setting a certain number on C-sections or VBACs… seek another provider. It’s your body and your family’s choice to have more children. You and your husband need to do your own research and make a decision. Doctors are hyper sensitive about lawsuits and birth injuries. There are some risks to both repeat c-sections and VBACs…but not nearly as much as you would think based on the alarmist “facts” from doctors. (and I am in no way Anti-medicine/doctors heI’re…)

Check out the agency called “I can” for VBAC support and statitistics. Also consider hiring a doula or having a close (assertive and knowledgeable) friend with you at your birth to help you advocate for the birth experience you desire.

Here’s a thread on a parenting forum that discusses VBAC and pregnancy spacing:

It sounds like a vaginal birth soon after a cesarean has a higher risk of uterine rupture, but can be done.

I can’t say I have personal experience with this but my [name]SIL[/name] has had 3 C/S. The last one took a bit longer than the first 2 because scarring had complicated the procedure. It was also a longer recovery than her second (although her first was the worst). Also, my best friend had a c/s for her first. She knew she wanted a big family so she asked her doctor the very same thing. He said he would do 10+ c/s and not to worry about it affecting the number of children she wanted. She went on to have a VBAC 2 years later.

OK, so this is a topic I know about! (Sadly…)
The primary risk associated with multiple c-sections is placenta accreta, which is a very dangerous condition where IF the placenta implants on the scar it can essentially invade the scar, uterus and sometimes beyond. Some women end up with a hyterectomy to save their life (but baby is usually brought to term safely).
The risks increase more from the 4th c-section, and even more for each c-section after 4. So seeking specialist advise is very important.

As you are already have #2 in the oven, I would say don’t let a second c-section stress you. You can’t change things now. It does seem unlikely they would support VBAC with the small gap due to uterine healing, but nevertheless a second opinion wouldn’t hurt.

BUT for a future pregnancy it is probably crucial to seek advise on timing to maximise a VBAC for a 3rd pregnancy. If you had a successful VBAC you could then go on and have lots more kiddies! Timing may be longer than you hoped, but if a large family is your goal the wait would lessen your risk of a 3rd c-section and increase your chances of a VBAC and a larger brood. You CAN have VBAC after 2 c-sections, it is very possible and a supporting specialist is the one to find.

If I have my IVF dream realised I will be lining up for C-section #4. All 3 previous c-sections have had no problems so far. But specialist has told me this is probably it as the risk for #5 is much greater due to placenta accreta risks (VBAC is not an option for me).

I hope this helps expain some of the concerns about multiple c-sections.

I wish you the best of luck and hope you find a supportive specialist to help your dreams for a large family come true :slight_smile:

That’s awesome that you want a large family! I have 5 and we’re open to more.

My [name]SIL[/name] has had 4 C-sections, friends of mine have 5 and 6, and I know of other moms with more. The decision really should be based on an evaluation of your uterus that is done during your c-section. Everyone heals differently. After the C-section a doctor can tell you how thin/thick your uterine wall is.

I would strongly recommend getting a 2nd opinion regarding the safetly of a VBAC. I’ve had 4 VBACs and I know there are some doctors that are strongly in favor of VBACs and others who are not.

The general standard is three sections. Or so my mother told me once… she’s a labor and delivery nurse. And she said it is possible to have four or five, depending on the lady herself. If your healthy, and young, then its more likely to be possible! <3 I would talk to your doctor about this, though :slight_smile: I’m sure he/she can more accurately tell you what YOU personally are capable of! :slight_smile:

However, it can’t hurt to get a second or third opinion! I know that some doctors favor VBAC’s, and other favor sections… so having other opinions cannot hurt! Plus some doctors probably may be some doctors who are willing to try a VBAC! Even if they decide its necessary to have a section if things aren’t working out :slight_smile:

Also, if you reach the limit of births you can have, and desire more, there’s always adoption! <3 There’s no limit or shortage when it comes to adoption :wink: <3

I would definitely ask around and find out who is the expert physician on VBACs in your area. It is true that doctors are very limited by the fear of lawsuits, and it is simply more controlled to do a surgery and then tell you you can’t have more kids. On the other hand, there are legitimate concerns about uterine rupture when another pregnancy happens soon after a cesarean birth. Finding a doctor who specializes in VBAC and “high risk” pregnancy could be exactly what you need.

I had a successful VBAC 20 months after my first emergency cesarean and everything was just fine. My third baby ended up another emergency c-section, and now that I’m on #4 I found a doctor who will work with VBACs even after two cesareans (3 years space this time though). [name]Even[/name] though I haven’t decided yet what to do, I feel much more comfortable and confident in getting advice from someone who I know is not pushing surgery just because it’s the easy thing for a doctor to do.

It’s pretty hard to put a “max number” on cesarean births, because a lot has to do with how the last surgery went, how the incision and sewing-up were done, how long you’ve had to heal, how healthy the uterus looked the last time it was opened up, and so forth. I generally hear the number 4 tossed around but that’s really not set in stone. My current doctor has been encouraging about trying for another VBAC since DH and I are not ready to call it quits, so it would seem he feels better about my not having 4+ surgeries. My first OB said he did a 6th cesarean on a lady and the tissues were looking pretty scary thin in there, a friend of mine told me she knows a lady who has had 9. NINE CESAREANS!!! That terrifies me personally but obviously there’s no set number that applies across the board to all cases.

Best wishes, I hope you can find a medical provider who will help you reach your goals!

I’ve had 2 c sections and expecting my 3rd in 3 weeks… we were surprisingly prego 6 months after my second… my doctor told me the most I should have is 5 or 6 and my friend just had her 5th c section!

I just wanted to thank everyone so much for all of your comments, it is so encouraging to me to hear of successful 5th and 6th c-sections! The link was also great about successful VBACs with less than 18months between births!